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Chance a CS major for UCB, Princeton, and UCLA?

penguin2penguin2 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
The three listed in the title are my top choices (though I know they’re reaches for everyone), but I’d also like to know my chances at MIT and Caltech as ultra high reaches and UCSD, Purdue, and GTech for slightly lower reaches. I have definite safeties figured out.

Intended Major: Computer Science
State (if domestic applicant): California
School Type: All-girls, Catholic, private
Ethnicity: Asian
Gender: Female

SAT: 800M, 750RW = 1550
Unweighted GPA: 4.0
Weighted GPA: 4.63
Weighted and Capped UC GPA: 4.15
Rank: 1/192

AP (12 5s so far, excluding my 4 senior APs): CSP, CSA, Psych, World Hist, US Hist, US Gov, CalcAB, CalcBC, Stats, English Lang, English Lit, Chem, Bio, Physics C Mech, Physics C Electric, Environmental

Extracurriculars
-- FRC Robotics Team [3 years] (Programming Captain) - We went to worlds for both of the previous years I was a member and are likely to qualify again this year.
-- VEX Robotics Team [3 years total, 2 years middle and 1 year high school] (President): We went to nationals for the first time the year I became president and ranked in the top 20 teams.
-- Math Team [2 years] (President)
-- Lincoln-Douglas Debate [4 years] (Chair) - Won two tournaments, medaled in nearly all
-- Independent Science Research [3 years] - Competed in Synopsis, won first in the region once and second once
-- ASB [2 years] (Homeroom Rep)
-- Choir [4 years]
-- Dead Poets Society [3 years] (Founder) - I founded this after watching the namesake movie in English class; we read and analyze inspirational poetry.
-- NHS [3 years]

Job/Work Experience:
-- Math and reading teacher for elementary schoolers

Volunteer/Community service:
-- 250+ hours

Summer Activities:
-- UC Cosmos
-- Took AP Stats and AP PhysC’s at a community college

Awards
-- Rensselaer Medal (Top STEM student in the grade)
-- Presidential Gold Award for Service
-- Synopsis regional winner
-- National AP Scholar
-- National Merit Finalist

Letters of recommendation: Calc AB/BC teacher, English teacher

To recap, I think my main selling points are my course rigor and ECs, and maybe the Women in STEM thing, but I don’t know how far those will get me.

Thank you in advance for any feedback you give!
16 replies
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Replies to: Chance a CS major for UCB, Princeton, and UCLA?

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77793 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 9
    For UCB, you can apply to L&S, but then you need a 3.3 GPA in the first three CS courses to declare the L&S CS major. Or you can apply for direct admission to EECS in the CoE, but that is a more difficult admit than L&S.

    Students with an unweighted GPA of 4.0 (all A grades) and lots of honors and AP courses typically have UC recalculated weighted-capped GPA higher than 4.15.

    https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/infocenter/freshman-admissions-summary says that UCB applicants with weighted-capped GPA of 4.20 or higher had 37% admit rate to UCB in 2018; those with 3.80-4.19 had 10% admit rate to UCB in 2018. This does not account for division or major; L&S is the largest division, so its admit rates are likely similar to the overall. CoE, and especially EECS, presumably have significantly lower admit rates than the overall.

    More about UC admit rates here: https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/university-california-general/2127392-faq-uc-historical-frosh-admit-rates-by-hs-gpa-2018.html
    edited September 9
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3990 replies86 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think there must be a miscalculation in you UC capped weighted GPA. There’s no way the gap is only .15 between an unweighted GPA and weighted capped if you’ve taken 12.5 AP classes. The only way possible is if you’ve taken 51+ semesters worth of classes in 10-11 grade which would be out of this world. (I don’t discount the possibility because it is possible). In which case, admissions would probably recognize the GPA anomaly and do something about it. Anyhow, your UC GPA is more like 4.25 to 4.3 under more normal circumstances if your unweighted is 4.0.

    You’ll be right in line with UCLA and UCB EECS averages, but it could go either way, as is the case with 99% of people who apply for EECS at Berkeley or UCLA. L&S for UCB will be more of a sure thing for you but you will need to do the 3.3 gauntlet.
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  • penguin2penguin2 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @ProfessorPlum168 I did miscalculate it, thank you for pointing that out. I didn't take 51 (!) semesters worth of classes, I took 28, but I calculated with freshman and senior classes. Without that error, my stats are as follows:
    Unweighted GPA: 4.0
    Weighted GPA: 4.75
    Weighted and Capped UC GPA: 4.29.

    As for the 3.3 GPA minimum, is that for after (hypothetically) I'm in Berkeley? As in I get in, and there I need to take those 3 courses and maintain a 3.3 in one year and I can declare L&S? So between the enrollment and getting those three courses, I'm not officially a CS major?

    Thank you both for your replies! Is there anything like that I should know for Princeton?
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  • BunnyBlueBunnyBlue 841 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
    You are super! Hope you let us know later where you got in because you are a good candidate for all of them.
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  • GreymeerGreymeer 771 replies11 threadsRegistered User Member
    From your list, UCSD and Purdue are your best shot for CS.

    MIT, Caltech, UCB, UCLA, Princeton are < 10%.

    GT ~14%

    UCSD ~20%

    Purdue ~28%

    Here are the engineering stats, CS admit rates are 4 to 5% lower...

    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/2155743-engineering-admission-statistics-2018-p1.html
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3990 replies86 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    At a 4.29 UC GPA and 1550 SAT you have a 50% chance, maybe more, at getting in for both UCLA and Berkeley EECS. Outside of your essays which is always a big variable factor, I’m going to guess that you would get into at least one of the two schools. Your course rigor, relevant profile, and ECs look really good, including the volunteering part. Admit rates for Berkeley EECS is in the 6-7% range, UCLA is most likely a similar rate. Note that you would be a direct admit into the CS major.

    Berkeley also has L&S CS which you can apply for as well. You would go in as Undeclared (all students applying for L&S go in as Undeclared even though the UC application asks for a major) and would need to get a minimum of 3.30 in your first 3 requisite CS classes in order to declared for CS. Admit rates for L&S is higher, more like 15%+ but unless Berkeley does any sort of yield protection which I doubt they do, you should be able to get into L&S. Around 50% of students who attempt to declare for CS via L&S do declare.

    At your level, this is always a tough decision as to whether to apply for Berkeley EECS or L&S. Direct admit for CS via EECS versus easier admit but another hurdle needed via LSCS. LSCS does allow you to have more flexibility to double major in something else such as Economics or Physics or the like.

    You might also want to look into Berkeley MET, which is the ultimate combo of Engineering (eg EECS) and Haas Business School.

    I don’t know much about Princeton but it seems you would have a decent shot there too.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3990 replies86 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Also, you’ll want to edit your first post with the UC capped weighted GPA so that others won’t get confused.
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  • GumbymomGumbymom 27677 replies152 threadsForum Champion UC Forum Champion
    edited September 11
    The admit rate at UCLA CS for Fall 2018 was 8.2%. The average CS ACT score was 35 and the SAT was a 1550 average. You are right in line with these stats so best of luck.
    edited September 11
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77793 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    penguin2 wrote: »
    As for the 3.3 GPA minimum, is that for after (hypothetically) I'm in Berkeley? As in I get in, and there I need to take those 3 courses and maintain a 3.3 in one year and I can declare L&S? So between the enrollment and getting those three courses, I'm not officially a CS major?

    Yes, if you enroll in UCB L&S, you need to take CS 61A, 61B, 70 and earn a 3.3 GPA in those three courses (A, A+ = 4.0, A- = 3.7, B+ = 3.3, B = 3.0, B- = 2.7, etc. when calculating college GPA at UCB) to declare the L&S CS major.
    https://eecs.berkeley.edu/academics/undergraduate/cs-ba/faq#cs_1

    Note that there is a specific question about EECS versus L&S CS:
    https://eecs.berkeley.edu/academics/undergraduate/cs-ba/faq#ps_4
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  • tgl2023tgl2023 86 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    A few notes on Princeton:
    -Switching major or concentration at Princeton is not quite as challenging a task as in other universities, and that includes switching into CS or engineering.
    -Princeton values service to others, and requires the submission of a graded paper in English or history as part of the application.
    -As a bonus, Princeton's financial aid is very generous, even to middle class families (around 150K in income); it has its separate financial aid form for applicants who apply for FA, in addition to FAFSA.
    Your stats are strong, the rest hinges on the all-important essays, short answers and LORs. You have a good chance at Princeton. Good luck.
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  • penguin2penguin2 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks for the insight on Princeton and verification about L&S!
    For the requirement of a graded English or History paper, is the purpose of that to gauge my writing style? Or should I choose an essay that has some information about myself (like anecdotes) to make it like a normal essay?
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  • yungkaviaryungkaviar 8 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @penguin2
    I'm a senior, but judging from Princeton's page on the graded paper, it seems that:
    --Your argumentative skills are to shine through it
    --Your writing skills/talent are also super important and should shine through the paper
    --The actual topic and even the assigned grade are not as important. Princeton wants you to send them a piece that you believe best showcases your natural writing ability and argumentative skills.
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  • tgl2023tgl2023 86 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I Agree with yungkaviar in post #12. The paper should be a graded class assignment. I have heard some students (perhaps, at the suggestion of college application companies) have written papers expressly for this purpose, and I think the AOs can usually spot these outliers and view them negatively.
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  • penguin2penguin2 3 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you yungkaviar and tgl2023. Based on your posts, I could submit a research paper on Oedipus the King from English that never mentions me specifically, and it'd be graded on my writing?
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  • tgl2023tgl2023 86 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Yes, Princeton wants a graded paper from your class. A research paper on Oedipus the King that you wrote for your English class and on which you received a grade is acceptable. Your teacher's grade and comments on that paper are to be included. Since Princeton had dropped the writing requirement for SAT and ACT, the graded paper serves the purpose of evaluating an applicant's writing ability, without additional requirement on the applicants to write (yet) another paper for the application.
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  • tgl2023tgl2023 86 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    penguin2 wrote: »
    Thank you yungkaviar and tgl2023. Based on your posts, I could submit a research paper on Oedipus the King from English that never mentions me specifically, and it'd be graded on my writing?
    I re-read your question in post #14, and realize that I might not have answered your question completely. The paper that Princeton requires is not to be graded by Princeton; rather it wants a paper that you had submitted at your school and which had been graded by your teacher, for example, your English homework assignment on Oedipus the King. I guess the purpose of this graded paper requirement by Princeton, is to evaluate your writing ability and to gauge roughly the level of teaching at your school (grading and comments by your teacher), without further burdening you, the applicant, with additional writing.
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